Chapter 12 : Chapter 12
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A/N: I own none of this content. Also, I hope this chapter gets validated quicker than the last one.
It was late morning when the shafts of bright Spring sunlight finally woke Hermione. For a second, she couldn’t remember where she was, coming out of such a deep sleep, but when she felt an arm move across her naked midsection, the night before came flooding back to her. Hermione was amazed at how comfortable and natural lying here with Draco felt. She expected to have regrets, or at least reservations about last night, but she didn’t, and that realization stunned her. Things have certainly changed, Hermione thought as she looked at the sleeping form of the man next to her. He was beautiful, kind, and crazy about her. What other changes have I missed?
Draco sensed her waking, and pulled her closer to him. “Mmm, don’t get up,” he said groggily. “Stay here all day.”
She rolled over into his arms and felt the warm length of his naked body against her. “I’d like to stay,” she started, “but I need to get up.”
“Why?” Draco asked as he pulled her tighter.
“First, I didn’t intend to stay over,” she said, kissing his neck.
“Oh, I’m glad you did,” Draco drawled. “That was the greatest night of my life.” He kissed her in return and started caressing the small of her back.
Hermione felt his arousal pressing against her and blushed. “How many times can you have sex in one day?” she asked playfully. “I lost count last night.”
“You lost count? I lost consciousness.”
Hermione laughed and pushed herself away. “The other reason is that I need to use the loo.” She pulled the comforter around her as she got off the bed and made her way across the room.
“Do you want some breakfast?” Draco called out a few moments later as he dressed.
“Actually, I’m starving,” Hermione said as she exited the bathroom wearing Draco’s fluffy white robe. “Do you mind if I wear this? I guess no one but the House-elves will see me.”
Draco approached her, playfully trying to untie the robe, but she pulled away, laughing.
“Fine, wear something if you must,” Draco said as he turned towards the door. “Oh, I almost forgot to show you the painting.”
They both turned to the painting that took up most of one wall above the fireplace. They had completely forgotten about it the night before, which seemed strange given the connection they both had with the painting. They would have expected the painting to be jumping up and down, or dancing, but now it seemed quite different.
“That’s weird,” Draco said, looking at the painting. “I’ve never seen her sleep before. She’s usually so…”
“Alive?” Hermione ventured. “I imagine there was a lot to see last night,” she said, blushing, “and maybe she’s just resting, but I think it might be something more.”
“What do you mean?”
“She told me that she was created for a purpose. I mean, she did convince me to see you, and she kept you, well, interested in me. Maybe now that we’ve met, her job is finished. Mr. Krum certainly put some kind of magic in that painting, it made you want to find me,” Hermione ventured.
“Listen, Hermione,” Draco said, grabbing her hands, “you are what captivated me in school, and it is you that I want. This isn’t a schoolboy crush, this is…real. I wasn’t tricked by a painting or coerced into liking you. I have been crazy about you for years, and I consider myself the luckiest man on earth to have finally found you. I’m not going to let you out of my sight again.”
Hermione blushed, and kissed Draco as they walked out of his room together.
Narcissa awoke late the next morning. She was surprised to feel so hungry, since she usually ate so little to keep herself fit and trim. This morning was different; she really needed some food right away. Lucius was still sleeping, they had certainly been up late the night before, so calling for Winky might wake him up, and she wanted him to get his rest. She slipped out of bed, silently put on her robe and slippers, and snuck out of the room.
When she entered the hallway, she noticed an unfamiliar scent…someone else’s perfume. A light touch of cinnamon and rose. Narcissa surmised that a female visitor was in the manor, and that it must be Hermione and she must have spent the night with Draco. They work fast, she thought. Narcissa quickened her pace toward the kitchen where she heard Draco’s voice.
Narcissa slowed as she neared the kitchen door. She peered around the corner and saw only Draco, who was at the stove, cooking something. Not only was that unusual, he was laughing like he was talking to someone, but there was no one else visible. Visible, Narcissa thought, Hermione wouldn’t be visible to me because of the Unplottability Charm, so she is here, and if I get too close, it will affect me. Narcissa made her plan, tightened her robe, and strolled purposefully into the room, acting nonchalant as she made her way across the floor. She planned on being regal as she entered, but what she didn’t plan on was being driven wild with hunger at the smell of the sausages that Draco was frying. Like a moth to a flame, Narcissa walked right up to the stove and stood behind her son, staring at the food.
“Mother, good morning,” Draco said, startled that his mother had snuck up behind him. He knew that she couldn’t see Hermione standing on his left, but having two women salivating at his attempt on cooking was a little disconcerting. “Would you like some sausages?” he asked as Narcissa grabbed an empty plate.
Hermione laughed aloud as she and Narcissa sat on opposite side of the giant kitchen table, eating sausage after sausage, followed by eggs, toast, and coffee. She was sure that Narcissa couldn’t see her, or that the food was moving onto Hermione’s plate. Hermione tried making noises or waving silverware around, but Narcissa couldn’t see any of it. She finally relaxed and really began to tuck in. Draco became so overwhelmed by the constant requests for food that he had to call for Winky to take over. He now sat at the head of the table drinking from a warm mug as his mother started talking.
“Draco, I know that Hermione is here,” Narcissa said suddenly.
Hermione dropped her fork, and Draco froze.
“Don’t worry, I can’t see her, but I know she is here just the same. I want to say, that I am happy that the two of you were able to meet at last.”
“Is she serious?” Hermione asked.
“Thank you,” Draco said, smiling at the outburst from Hermione. “She is really special, mother, and I appreciate all that you did to bring us together.”
“Draco, your happiness is what is most important to me. From what I have learned, Hermione is a remarkable young woman, and I hope that she makes you happy. Should I assume that now you are happy, Draco?”
Draco grasped Hermione’s hand underneath the table as he said, “I’ve never been happier.”
Hermione squeezed his hand in return.
“There is one thing I would like Hermione to know though,” Narcissa said, choosing her words carefully so that she wouldn’t be repelled by the Unplottability Charm that still surrounded Hermione. “I spoke with Mr. Granger, a charming man, and he told me some of the reasons that Hermione may have had to drop out of the Wizarding World. My guess is that now that she has met you, and sees the changes that you have been through, she might want to make other connections with her old friends.”
Draco watched Hermione as she looked down at the table, deep in thought. He knew that his mother was, once again, right on target.
Narcissa continued, “I also know how daunting it can be for someone to return to society when there are so many questions to answer. It is scary. However, as someone that has spent the past several years rebuilding their life, I would like to remind Hermione that there are many people that would be almost as happy as you to see her again. I am sure that they would be excited to help her rejoin the Wizarding World, if she would just let them.”
“She’s right, you know,” Hermione said as she looked at Draco. “I should lift this charm completely.” She stood and tightened her robe. “Will you help me?”
Draco stood up instantly, and his mother saw his look of resolve, and action, and knew that her speech had worked.
“Absolutely,” Draco said, and took her hand and led her from the kitchen.
They both walked down the hallway towards the family library. It was a massive room with floor to ceiling books. Hermione was thrilled as she looked over the titles as she walked past. Moste Potente Potions by Phineas Bourne, and Hogwarts, A History by Bathilda Bagshot were two that she recognized. Secrets of Darkest Magic by Armand Malfoy, was one that concerned her.
In the center of the library was a long desk, and it was to this that Draco escorted her.
“Here is some parchment and a quill. I thought that you could send that man at the Ministry a note, and ask him to remove the Unplottability Charm completely.”
“I can’t get an owl to send it to him, but oh, you can,” Hermione said, realizing that Draco was already a step ahead of her. He was sharp.
“Just make out your letter, and I’ll do the rest,” Draco said, pulling out the chair for her.
A few minutes later, Draco’s eagle owl was out the window, in search of Mortimer Lightwood.
“Draco, would you like to see my flat?” Hermione asked, as she walked over to the library shelves to peruse the titles.
“I would love to,” Draco said. “But why don’t you pick out a few books to take with us?”
Hermione ran back to Draco and hugged him tightly as she looked up into his eyes, “You are perfect, you know that?”
Narcissa finally felt full as she pushed back from the table. Lucius entered the room to see the uncharacteristic wreckage of plates in front of his wife, who usually ate like a bird.
“Darling, are you feeling alright?” Lucius asked as he planted a kiss on her cheek.
“I don’t know, I was just so hungry this morning. I can’t believe that I ate this much.”
Winky started gathering the plates from in front of Narcissa and said matter-of-factly, “That is because you are now eating for two.”
Narcissa and Lucius both froze for a moment, then looked at Winky. Each had their left eyebrow quirked up in an ‘are you serious’ look.
Winky picked up the last plate, looked at the couple and said, “Congratulations.”
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